The story of Noah is familiar one. Noah was told by G-d that he was going to create a flood to rid the world of those who had sinned. But Noah and his family would be saved by building an ark which would hold the world’s animals. After some time floating on the endless ocean, a dove was sent to Noah, a sign that that would waters would recede and land would soon be found.
Biblical epics have been a staple of Hollywood storytelling since it’s early days. Transferring the story of Noah from the pages of the Bible to big screen would have happened eventually.
Directed by Darren Aronofsky, co written by Aronosky and Ari Handel, Noah (Russell Crowe) is the descendant of Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve. He and his wife Naamah (Jennifer Connelly) have three sons. Shem (played as an adult by Douglas Booth), Ham (played by as an adult by Logan Lerman) and Japheth (played by as an adolescent by Leo McHugh Caroll). When Noah is given a message by G-d that the flood is coming, he seeks out his grandfather, Methusaleh (Anthony Hopkins), for guidance. During their journey, they find Ila, a orphan (played by as an adult by Emma Watson) who becomes their adopted daughter and the Watchers, fallen angels who become their helpers in building the ark. But trouble comes in the form of Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone), a self proclaimed king who wants the ark for himself.
When making a biblical movie, Hollywood will inevitably come up against two barriers: the first being that the movie will never be universally approved, there will always be criticism. The second is that biblical characters, like mythical characters are often larger than life. We, as the audience know their story, but we do not know them as human beings, which allows the filmmakers creative license. That creative license may create controversy when a religious movie goer may disapprove of on screen depiction of the story and the characters.
One of the best elements of the movie was the strong female characters. With a rare exception, most of the women in the Bible referred to as the wife of ______ or the daughter of _______. She is not named, nor are we told anything about her other than she is someone’s wife or daughter. Naamah and Ila are both very strong and capable female characters, they are equal to the men as integral parts of the story.
The movie build up a steady pace up to the flood and then the problems start. The third act of the movie, when they are stuck on the ark, I had problems with. Frankly, that part of the movie could have been shorter, shortening the entire movie. Noah is not a bad movie, but if I were the screen writer, I would written the third act differently.